Friday, May 20, 2011

Alexander: portrait of the young writer

Here's a bit of Alexander's current fiction writing. I think you'll find it interesting in that it's about a relationship with a dad and a nine year old boy. A pretty antagonistic relationship in fact. And one that revolves around the dad not allowing any music in the house, especially rock. Ha. What's so fascinating, as most of you know, is that Alexander's real dad not only loved rock and roll, he was so crazy about it he started the first US rock magazine, Crawdaddy!, when he was 17 years old.

At any rate it's fascinating, and entertaining seeing what comes out of that young, nine year old, Alexander mind. Last year he wrote a very impressive science fiction short story from the perspective of a man-hero. With this story I can see he is now moving rapidly toward the "tween" years. Embodying his youth, a place where parents, even made up ones, become antagonistic. (photo: ABW asking questions of a Lego panel at Comicon 2010)

Chapter 1… Alexander Berryhill-Williams

“Will you stop all that noise up there?”

Hi, I’m Jack Barry. I am 9 years old. I like to play the drums. That’s what I am doing right now. And it is 8:30am.

“Sorry Dad,” I yell downstairs.

You see, my dad is not a big fan of rock. He never goes to rock concerts. He even put a filter on my computer so I can’t watch rock videos. Luckily, I know how to undo it. But I can’t watch them when dad’s around.

“I wish it was already 10:00,” I murmur to myself. Ten o’clock AM is when my dad goes to work. Then mom watches me.

I go down stairs. Dad is having his morning coffee and is reading the paper. The music section is in the trash. I take it out.

“Oh no,” says dad, his coffee cup empty. “Not on my watch.”

I put it back and head for the cupboard. Darn. We’re out of cereal. I make myself some oatmeal. My dad goes upstairs to get ready for work. By the time he’s done it is 9AM, T-minus 1 hour to dad leaving. I go upstairs and use the computer for half an hour. Thirty minutes countdown.

I decide to go outside. I run around the yard a couple of times and then check the time. About 9:45. I go in the kitchen. No Dad. I take the music section out of the trash.

“Did I not say no?”says Dad, entering the room. “I think I said no.”

“Sorry.” I say.

“Well, I’m off to work. See you tonight. And don’t even think of reading that. Clear?”

I nod. As soon as he is out the door, I rush upstairs. I get out my legos and start building.

It is now 12:00. I just finished the foot pedal. I go downstairs to eat a PBJ for lunch. I then go back upstairs to practice drums. I practice “The Final Countdown”, “No”, and “Dynamite”. Then I watch a movie. After that I read a bit of City of Ember. Now I am outside practicing basketball. I hear a knock on the door. Dad’s home!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Birthday Greetings For Paul

Today is Paul Williams (aka Crawdaddy, or daddy of Craw?) birthday and he received a flood of happy greetings via my Facebook account. I read them to him at noon today over his favorite lunch, a chili relleno burrito from Juanita's taco stand. Paul teared up and dabbed his nose a number of times while listening, a few of the comments even brought him some laughs .... Below I share with you a few of those messages from an illustrious array of fans and friends...

Joshua Nye Paul, several years ago you did me the courtesy of meeting w/me to discuss your recollections of hearing the acetates for "Smile". I so greatly appreciate having the opportunity to listen. Thank you, and happy birthday.

M.J. Stevens Yeah, we are still out here reading your stuff, Paul. Thanks, and Happy Birthday.

Scott Kempner
Happy Birthday Paul - I discovered Crawdaddy in the summer of 67, with Issue 9. It changed my life - for the better, & set me on the path of being a lifelong musician. I came to befriend R. Meltzer, who is the Godfather of my band, The Dictators (Pearlman was our manager), & it began my lifelong passion for smart, impassioned rock criticism. I treasure all those early issues, which i still own, & are never more than an arm's length away. They're still in perfect shape. They still hold their magic. I grew up in the world of rock criticsim, with Lester, Greil was my father in law for five years, Landau, et al. I have a band called The Del-Lords, make solo albums, & work with the great Dion DiMucci. I am not sure how much of this blessed life would have happened without you. Thanx for everything. And, i do mean everything.

Todd Everett Happy birthday to one of the pioneers, from one of his many acolytes. If we were in the same room, I'd shake your hand.

Arn McConnell Happy birthday to a writer who was influencing me long before I even knew who he was!

Cynthia Lawless happiest 63rd birthday to one of the greatest hits of the 20th century! congrats, Paul!

Mick Gray Happy Birthday to one of THE GREAT ROCK N ROLL WRITERS!!! I wish you a very special day. Paul!

Dave Weil Thank you for the days, Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me. I'm thinking of the days, I won't forget a single day, believe me.

Thankfully, we don't need to sing the second verse because you're still here shining the light!

Rock Critics Anything for the man that made trips to Target worthwhile growing up (straight to the mag rack). Have a very Happy Birthday, Paul!

Peter Stampfel happy birthday, and thank you massively for glorious shitloads!

David Beckham Happy Birthday Paul, Thank you for offering us all Das Energi. I have made it a gift for so many. Also thank you for "Only Apparently Real" and keeping PKD alive for us.

Steven Ben-Off Abrams Happy birthday, Paul! I picked up "Das Energi" as a teenager in the late 70s, really dug it & then was pleasantly surprised when I caught up with your later work & found it to be just as exciting and worthwhile. Thanks for being a good influence on me!

Jocelyn Ertel Das Energi, one of the key books of my life. Happy Birthday Paul!

Rainer Vesely Happy birthday from Austria, Paul!

Michael Rapp happy birthday from your friends at Swarthmore College

Steve Stiles A very happy birthday to you, ol' pal. And merry unbirthdays later.

Gary Heffern birthday greetings from finland paul!

Art Linton Happy Birthday, Paul! You touched my life in a profound way with your writings, especially Das Energi. Eternal thanks to you! Happy birthday! Many happy returns of the day to you! Cheers and all best wishes! Peace and grace.

Gary Schulstad Happy Birthday Paul, Thanks for your friendship; for all the connections you provided between inspiring people, for the direction you gave to hear music in new ways, for deepening my appreciation of life using truths you discovered, and for opening my eyes to numerous and different adventures to experience.

Bob Colby An extremely happy birthday to you, and thanks for all that your writing has done for me and all of us!

Charles R. Cross happy b day paul... your smile and that of your family, can be seen and felt all the way up here in Seattle.

Roy F. Good Happy Birthday! You are the common thread through many people I've met and memories I have...happiness and peace down the road...

Keith Shiraki Happy Birthday Paul, Thank you for sharing your passion for the music that moves you with us. You are blessed with a beautiful and loving wife and son. I treasure the conversations we have shared. Your words continue to inspire past, present and future readers. Peace.

Dan Chusid Happy Birthday Paul! I still have my early Crawdaddys and will never let them go.

David G. Hartwell Happy birthday, Paul. I am going to visit in the fall. Seems like a long time since we last caught up.

Karl Fitzke Paul, Happy Birthday from upstate NY. I treasure the time my family and I got to spend with you and your family when we lived in San Diego. I also love your very personal style of writing which we still get to enjoy despite being so far away. Rock on, brother. You are the gold standard. -Karl

Bart Mann Happy birthday Paul. Thank you for an inspirational career. Oh and thank you for believing in and supporting Phillip K Dick.

Robert Collyer I was a big Crawdaddy fan..mother jones..all that stuff. Paul ! Thanks for making my bleek life in the foggy potato fields of the early 70's in Germany a somewhat joyful one !!!

Debra Ruzinsky Paul, you have touched our lives deeply! We love you and wish we were there to tell you in person. Happy Birthday from Deb,McNevin, and Nathan.

Matthew Wilson Happy birthday to a man whose writing has expanded my mind and spirit!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letter From A Friend Who's Father Has Had A Stroke...

Dear Cindy Lee,
If I remember correctly, Paul was prescribed anti-depressants when he was irritable and quick-tempered. That was the first I'd heard about anti-depressants being used to calm someone, but it makes sense.
I ask because my dad has been pretty short-tempered with my mom since coming home from the hospital. I know many people are depressed after a stroke and are prescribed anti-depressants, so I think he should be on them, too, and I hope I'm remembering correctly that they may improve his temper.
That's what I wanted to ask about. Can anti-depressants also calm someones temper? I think he should be on them, but I thought I'd ask about your experience with them.
How goes your efforts to get a life again? After you played the song "The Heavy" for me, I went to your blog site and heard it again. That's a good version, but you have to hear what it sounds like played over the phone some day.

Hi Gary,
This is what I think:
When Paul was in the early stages of recovery from his brain injury (yeah, a stoke is a brain injury), even the first year, he would fly off the handle with anything and anybody. The brain becomes overwhelmed and hasn't gotten the new neurotransmitter routes in place yet and has to work harder, so the individual becomes irritable and irrational, overwhelmed. Your dad should be getting some out-patient rehab, they can talk to you about all this stuff.

There is a brain injury chart called the Rancho Los Amigos Chart which explains what you might expect of your dad, in the coming months...things to look for. You cant expect him to be rational, his brain isnt functioning properly. I had a caregiver at home some of the time, during these first few months, after bringing Paul home from the hospital...

They likely, won't prescribe your dad antidepressants until he lands in a recovery zone in a year or so...until then they will consider him still in recovery and thus moving through the various stages mentioned in the Los Amigos Chart...

That's my take on it alll....sorry you're going through all this..its tough stuff. And my two bits is that your mother should not be taking care of him any more...just my opinion. It was hard enough for me and I was many many years younger than her...clb

Cindy Lee,
Thanks so much for the information. It's all helpful. My mom does have help at home, so she's not just taking care of him herself. I also should say he's mostly been positive and cooperative, but sometimes he gets frustrated and depressed, and that's when he loses his temper.
And sure, you can use our conversation about my dad in your blog and even use my name.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Magnificent Other

About six months ago, I wrote about being in the studio, mixing and putting vocals on tracks I'd originally recorded back in 1999 and 2000 (and previously unreleased),...this is one of the songs. The story on this and the other seven songs goes back to a blog entry I posted in August 2010...I was listening to the songs today, driving by the ocean, on my way home from work and thought I'd let you in on some of the sounds that will be released sometime later this year...

This tune, Magnificent Other (1999), features vocals by me, Lindsey Troy and Anna Troy, with Randy Hoffman (vibraphone), Renata Bratt (cello), Roger Manning (keyboards), Chris Davies (lead guitar), Stew (rhythm guitar), Stephen Hodges (drums), Justin Meldal Johnson (bass), Mike Harris (recording engineer), Lee Ray (mixing engineer), CLB (the final word)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some Paul Williams Books Seeking A Home

A few days ago I received a letter from a friend of Paul's writings, Julian Dean (he last year threw a big PK Dick fest in Colorado), who is looking for a home for some of his books. I told him I'd post his correspondence on my site here in the hopes that one of you would write to him and let him send you the following books....

I am reducing my personal cargo, which translates into having just taken 100 books to the library. I have a box of Paul’s books. Among them is the big old 1972 hardbound, Time Between, and an assortment of Apple Bay and the others from that era, some Dylan books, an upside down bound Int’l Bill of Human Rights, and so on and so forth.

I have been wanting to find an appreciative home for them rather than let them mold in my garage. I live in a cottage with minimal book shelves, and am looking for a cheaper and quieter place to move to. So I am needing to lighten my load.

Would you like me to ship the box to you? I would love it if you would have any use for the treasures.

Thanks SO MUCH for your blog. I love reading it.